Rising star Tory MP Kemi Badenoch refuses to get down with the kids

Written by David Singleton on 18 January 2018 in Diary

The 37-year-old MP said millennials were being 'puritanical' about the TV show Friends.

Conservative efforts to woo you people hit the skids this week when controversial old blogposts by Ben Bradley, the new Tory vice-chairman for youth, were unearthed.

But Bradley is not the only up-and-coming Tory MP adopting an unconventional approach to wooing younger voters, it seems.

Speaking to The House magazine, rising star Kemi Badenoch took issue with the way that many young people have responded to recent sexual abuse scandals.

She said: “When I look at a lot of the stuff that you see on social media about how – I think it’s a generational thing as well – younger people look at appropriate behaviours and what is a sexual advance, what is sexual harassment and so on.

“To me, it’s actually becoming a lot more puritanical than anything I ever saw in my 20s or in my teens.”

The 37-year-old MP then hit out at the way millennials have received the TV show Friends.

New viewers watching the show on Netflix have expressed reservations over certain jokes and plotlines, describing them as transphobic, homophobic and sexist. In particular, many millennials have been taken aback by Chandler’s mean-spirited jokes about his cross-dressing dad and Ross’ attitude towards his ex-wife’s same sex relationship.

But Badenoch said: “In the papers, they were talking about how Friends is now sort of really homophobic, transphobic and so on. That, for me, is a very, very – it’s actually a puritanical position, which I think of as conservative. So, you can’t really put your finger on what is what these days.

“Friends was the biggest television series of all time. Everybody loved it, it was syndicated all around the world. The idea that in a few years people are talking about it as if it’s this horrific series, for me that just doesn’t compute. Something has gone wrong somewhere.”

The MP for Saffron Walden, who impressed many delegates at the Conservative Party conference last October with her speech ahead of Theresa May's keynote address, added: “I don’t know whether it’s just a fad where people are saying these things and then they’ll move on to something else or whether this is now a permanent thing.”

“I’ve seen these sort of fits and seizures where everybody is interested in something and then they move on. When I first got into politics, this is 2005, there was Live Aid… and that was what everybody was talking about and then they sort of moved on from it.

“It was fashionable, they wore the bracelets, they went to the concert. I don’t know whether this is something like that, or whether this is something more profound and long lasting.”

The comment comes as universities minister Sam Gyimah has announced plans for a national tour of campuses so that he can talk directly to students. Sources suggested that neither nor Badenoch nor Bradley would be joining him any time soon…



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